Artist's rendition of Titan flyby T-117.

Artist's rendition of Titan flyby T-117.

This is Cassini’s 118th flyby of Titan and the third of 11 planned for 2016. This encounter will increase the inclination of Cassini’s orbit from 16 degrees to 20.6 degrees. The highest priority science is a grazing atmospheric occultation observed by Radio Science Subsystem (RSS), which will profile the thermal structure of the atmosphere, with ingress and egress latitudes of ~7S and ~30N degrees.The occultation is followed by a short-duration high northern-latitude egress-only bistatic scattering with ground track likely crossing small lakes, covering the region from about (80N, 190W) to about (70N, 240W) degrees, and capturing near-grazing scattering angle decreasing from about 80 to 75 degrees.

Titans Upper Atmosphere
This natural color image shows Titan's upper atmosphere -- an active place where methane molecules are being broken apart by solar ultraviolet light and the byproducts combine to form compounds like ethane and acetylene.

On approach, the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) will view the sub-Saturn hemisphere of Titan, the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) will do two mapping observations and the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) will search for clouds across Titan’s Fensal-Aztlan region.

Sources

  • Cassini Science Team. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Cassini Saturn Tour Dates
  • Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Observations (CICLOPS), “ Looking Ahead: Rev232: Jan 22 - Feb 7 2016

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